Tuesday, March 24, 2009

DC's Batman & Robin Variant

Once or twice, or maybe a few dozen times, I've ranted here and on other blogs about variant covers. I'm not a fan. I think the industry would be fine without them. I'm especially not a fan when publishers try to use variants to sell larger quantities of their comics.

But what DC is doing here with the new Morrison/Quitely Batman & Robin #1 variant is pretty insane. Here's the solicitation:

Written by Grant Morrison
Art and cover by Frank Quitely
Variant cover by JG Jones
Sketch variant cover by Frank Quitely
"Batman Reborn" begins here! With the reunited team of Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely (ALL-STAR SUPERMAN, WE3, New X-Men), this first issue kicks off a 3-part story arc that can't be missed! The new Dynamic Duo hit the streets with a bang in their new flying Batmobile as they face off against an assemblage of villains called the Circus of Strange. They also tackle their first mission investigating a child who’s been abducted by the mysterious Domino Killer. But will everything go smoothly? And who exactly are the new Batman and Robin? The newest era of The Dark Knight begins here!
Retailers please note: This issue will ship with three covers. For every 25 copies of the Standard Edition (with a cover by Frank Quitely), retailers may order one copy of the Variant Edition (with a cover by JG Jones). For every 250 copies of the Standard Edition, retailers may order one copy of the Sketch Variant Edition (with a cover by Frank Quitely), which is a sketch version of the Standard Edition. Please see the Previews Order Form for more information.
On sale June 3 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US

Now don't get me wrong. I'm sure this will be a popular comic. Especially the first issue. But 250 copies?!? This promotion is clearly going to benefit about 10 - 15 of Diamond's largest customers in the U.S. who have a need to order that large of a quantity. 100 copies is about the largest quantity we order here for a variant on a book we anticipate to be hugely popular. So I'm afraid we won't be getting one of these sketch variants - so don't call and ask. You'll have to settle for the 1/25 JG Jones variant.

Clearly DC is hoping that this book will be the #1 seller for the week, and they're going to try to push larger retailers to order in quantities that will earn them one or two of these. I have no doubt it will be a VERY rare variant, since I really don't think that many average size, single store retailers can afford that many issues. And when you are out and about at the comic book conventions over the summer and see tables full of the regular edition of this issue you'll know why.

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